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This section contains information on the Safer London Problem Oriented Partnership Awards 2011.

Warning: This is archived material and may be out of date. The Metropolitan Police Authority has been replaced by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).

See the MOPC website for further information.

Safer London Problem Oriented Partnership Awards 2011

 The sixth annual Problem Orientated Partnerships (POP) awards took place at City Hall, on 8 July 2011. The awards, previously known as the Problem Solving Awards, were created to promote the excellent work being done by the police, local authorities, fire service and other agencies whose job it is to make communities safer and feel safer.

The judges looked for evidence of strong collaborative problem solving between the MPS and other agencies. That meant identifying problems, what factors cause that problem to persist and design innovative ways to reduce the problem’s impact on people’s lives.

The annual awards is a collaboration between the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), Transport for London (TfL), London Councils and the Safer London Foundation, the independent charity that aims to reduce crime, promote community cohesion and develop safer neighbourhoods.

The Safer Communities category winner was “Safe as houses” (Enfield borough)

The Safer Travel category winner was “Improving safety and security on Orpington’s buses” (Bromley borough)

The winner from each category won one thousand pounds to assist with further problem solving processes within their area.

Police Sergeant Sarah Burrell, MPS Problem Solving Unit said “This year has seen over 49 entries for the POP awards in the categories of Safer Communities and Safer Transport, the most entries received since its inception, up 63% on last year. As the benefits of problem orientated partnerships continue to rise, more boroughs are reaping the benefit of greater involvement in problem solving processes. Comment was made by the judging panel chair, Dr Stuart Kirby, as to the very high standard and wide variety of entries this year.”

Kit Malthouse, Chair of the MPA, said: “Problem Orientated Partnerships are a vital way to bring the police, partner agencies and local communities together to tackle the type of criminal activity that can impact so much on people’s everyday lives. The MPA has long championed the wider adoption of partnership projects across London and is pleased the standard of entries remains high year on year. We offer our congratulations and thanks for the hard work shown by all those short-listed for today’s awards.”

Steve Burton, TfL Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing said, “The POP awards provide a great opportunity to recognize the best problem orientated policing projects in the MPS to deal with crime and anti-social behaviour issues that affect our communities. The short-listed applicants should be very proud of what they have achieved. TfL is pleased to be involved in the awards again this year and work alongside the partners to support problem orientated policing within the MPS.

London Councils’ Executive Member for Crime and Public Protection, Councillor Claire Kober said: “The awards aim to recognise the innovative ideas and team work between boroughs and their partners to make London a safer place by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. The short-listed projects illustrate how local partners have worked closely to prevent more Londoners from becoming victims of crime in their own homes and protect the travelling public from opportunist offenders.”

Rena Sodhi, Safer London Chief Executive said "Safer London Foundation (SLF) is delighted to be sponsoring the awards and has been impressed by the quality of the entries. SLF, the Metropolitan Police charity, works in partnership with officers and local communities to support and deliver local projects that empower young people to make positive choices in their lives, thereby diverting them from crime. Supporting solutions to local crime and safety issues is key to our work and we are therefore pleased to be involved in the awards process."

Winning projects - summaries

“Safe as houses” - Enfield borough

After several years of stable burglary levels in Enfield the borough suffered an increase of over 24% in 2008/09, rising to over 3,000 offences. A high level of concern regarding the substantial increase was highlighted by a variety of people including residents, a local MP, Government Office for London and the local media. Enfield went on to become London’s second highest burglary rate area and eighth highest nationally. As well as public concern, the partnership considered the financial and social costs borne by victims. Burglary can have a serious psychological impact on householders. Studies show that victims express considerable fear of repeat victimisation and become more anxious, hostile and depressed following a burglary. The average cost of a burglary according to the Home Office was £3,268 in 2003/04. Not accounting for inflation, this put the economic and social “cost” of burglary locally between £7-10 million in 2008/09.

Previous responses had been limited to re-active police patrols due to finite resources; however, during the year, money was made available to devise a more effective response. Detailed problem profiles were completed by the boroughs partnership analyst that uncovered constant yearly patterns to burglary in Enfield that had barely changed in several years. Furthermore, areas that suffered enduringly high burglary levels over this period were identified along with a high incidence of near-repeats. To demonstrate the extent of the near-repeat offences, several years of data showed that almost 20% of offending was occurring in just 4.6% of Enfield’s geographical area. The analysis identified chronic problems in one area, solely related to properties being accessed from the rear due to a vast network of alley-ways. Similarly, transport connections, less deprived neighbourhoods with working residents and owner occupied dwellings and a lack of pedestrian traffic made such areas very attractive to offenders.

Armed with strong intelligence regarding victims and locations, an appropriate response was created which involved offering free locks and bolts (i.e. London Bar, Mortise Deadlocks) to every household in streets where a high number of burglaries had occurred. Opportunists were deterred by the implementation of alley-gates in areas where properties had been accessed at the rear. Supplementary activity to tackle aspects of the “broken windows” theory and achieve crime prevention through environmental design was also practiced (i.e. removing fly-tips, cutting back vegetation, restricting access). Over 3,000 households in the most problematic areas were targeted for intervention and 88 alley-gates were installed.

The objective of the scheme was to reduce levels of burglary by 7.5% in the most affected areas. By the end of the 2009/10 financial year, burglary in these streets actually reduced by 46.7%. These reductions have been sustained throughout 2010/11 with the intervention areas continuing to decline and they are now at their lowest levels in over five years. Reductions in targeted intervention areas are eight times greater than the borough average. Furthermore, 93% of residents were very satisfied (73% response rate) with the scheme. One of our wards which received a significant share of the alley-gates due to its high incidence of rear entry of property offending, Palmers Green, was a top three burglary ward every year from 2001-2009. By the end of 2010 -11 Palmers Green ward had fallen to ninth highest.

The burglary reduction in “Safe as Houses” areas has driven the overall burglary decrease borough-wide in the past two financial years. The change in level of offending in the intervention area, which contains just 2.5% of the boroughs housing stock, contributed to over 40% of the boroughs overall reduction in 2009-10 (106 of 219 offences) and over 70% in 2010-11 (180 of 243 offences).

Improving safety and security on Orpington’s buses - Bromley borough

Orpington College is a large well established community college situated in The Walnuts Shopping Centre in the heart of the town centre. Every year the college inducts around 1,300 pupils, aged 16 to 18. 75% of students do not live on the borough, travelling from other areas, namely Lewisham, Greenwich, Lambeth and Croydon. The demographic of these students is in stark contrast to the demographic of the Orpington population.

While the majority of students were law-abiding, there was a minority who were intent on disruptive behaviour. Historically the early months of each college year were marred by incidents of violence and disorder within the town centre. These incidents were associated with individual college students, and linked to their involvement with gangs or territorial issues from where they live, unconnected with Orpington. These incidents had a significant impact on residents and shopkeepers, who said that the town centre was unsafe and unruly on weekday afternoons. As a result they stated that their fear of crime and disorder was heightened. Indeed the public felt so intimidated that they actively avoided the high street area at lunchtimes and at college closing times. The impact of crime and disorder was also felt further afield than just the college environs. The public transport networks serving Orpington are vast. Complaints from bus operators, train operators and the travelling public about college students demanded efforts to curb anti-social behaviour and keep order.

Two incidents in particular received much media attention, including the national media. One incident was featured on the Crimewatch television programme, the stabbing of a 16 - year- old student, who was chased down the road before being stabbed in the back (2 December 2008). One man, unconnected with the College was convicted of the assault; two others have never been identified. On 3 November 2009 dozens of college pupils were involved in violent clashes with police, forcing the closure of Orpington High Street and leaving a PCSO requiring hospital treatment. The Sun and the Daily Mail both covered this incident. As a direct response, a multi-agency group was set up to address the problems associated with the College. Such was the high level of concern that the Group was chaired by the Leader of the Council, and included the College Principal, Police Borough Commander, Transport for London (TfL), the Greater London Authority (GLA) Member for Bromley, and senior representatives from the Safer Bromley Partnership.

The Safer Transport Team began to implement a series of immediate, short-term solutions (such as high-visibility policing and rigorous use of Stop & Search powers) to combat the crime and anti-social behaviour associated with the College. A multitude of medium to long term multi agency activities were also introduced, which have delivered continued low monthly crime figures for the College area and the surrounding transport network. These included the introduction of an Information Sharing Agreement with Orpington College whereby the college, with the consent of the individual, provide details of those applying to become students at the College to the police, who check whether they have come to police attention for any violence related offences - including the use/possession of knives, firearms and gang membership; the re-citing of the entrance/exit to the College away from the main square; redevelopment of the College and updated CCTV systems; engagement days with new students; weapons sweeps and properly allocated lockers for students; working closely with the student affairs manager to enforce exclusions of students involved in disorder; revenue operations; knife arches; covert CCTV at bus shelters; and a very proactive approach to the investigation of offences and the arrest of those responsible.

The tactical delivery of all the above was championed by the Safer Transport Team, College Officer, Orpington Safer Neighbourhoods team, TfL, British Transport Police and staff at Orpington College. The College term of 2010-2011 has seen no incidents of serious violence or disorder associated with the College or transport network, a feat that has not been achieved for many years. Residents, shopkeepers, bus drivers and local politicians have all provided very positive feedback to the police, all showing a significant improvement in feelings of safety and security in and around the Orpington area.

The short-listed projects

Safer Communities

  • Queen Mary University London - Tower Hamlets borough
  • “Safe as houses” - Enfield borough
  • Focus building - Newham borough

Safer Travel

  • Improving safety and security on Orpington’s buses - Bromley borough
  • Reducing Cycle Theft - Safer Transport Command
  • Tackling illegal cabs - Wandsworth borough

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